The Value of Fiber Arts

January 8, 2019 | Filed Under Things I Think About | No Comments

Fiber arts can be any or all of these: practical skill, creative expression, personal therapy, a form of action, a way to make money.

Almost any movie set before the twentieth century shows a woman or group of women diligently working away at some sort of fiber art project—usually embroidery or cross-stitch, as those are among the easiest to create in terms of props for the set (as opposed to, say, a full-size floor loom).

The popularity of fiber arts waxes and wanes in contemporary culture. I know a number of women (and some men) who regularly practice at least two kinds of craft. Of course, I also know a number of people who are into historical re-creation, and there is significant overlap in these two groups. The Historic Hand Embroidery group on Facebook showcases some spectacular work by incredibly talented people.

The past few years, however, I have seen more of my friends and acquaintances take up various crafts as a means of personal and/or political expression. Aided by guides such as Julie Jackson’s “Subversive Cross Stitch“, even the complete beginner can find their way quickly into the joy of creating personal crafts to express their political and personal philosophies. Groups such as the Mildly Offensive Fiber Artists (MOFAs, as they call themselves) share their work, their patterns, and their tips gladly and gleefully.

I engage in several crafty delights: sewing (which is often aerobic, given the amount of swearing involved); embroidery (I use printed patterns, because life is too short to count threads); and weaving, because it’s fascinating, and also it’s part of my devotional work. Two of my favorite pieces are the embroidered cloth I created for my Sigyn altar

 

and the rune casting cloth I wove for my reading table:

The Completed Piece

With all three crafts (even sewing—there comes a point where it all starts flowing, and the swearing dwindles to near zero), I am able to enter a meditative state that is highly therapeutic. Focusing only on the object in front of me, concentrating solely on the movement of thread through fabric, or yarn through warp, is a wonderful moving meditation. And, at the end of it, you have A New Thing that you can keep, or give as a present, or sell. It’s a wonderful way to close out the world and clear my mind, and I have a cool thing to show for my time and effort.

There’s also the practical aspect of being able to repair or improve something—mend a pillowcase, re-attach a button (or replace boring buttons with beautiful or fun ones), hem a garment, customize a store-bought blanket with your own work—that makes life easier, more beautiful, and/or less expensive.

Fiber arts can fill many needs, both practical and intangible, and bring peace and quiet to your day.

Make of them what you will—make them yours.

Sources:

E. Tammy Kim: The Feminist Power of Embroidery

Kase Wickman: How Feminist Cross Stitching Became a Tool of the Resistance

Natalie Zarelli: The Wartime Spies Who Used Knitting as an Espionage Tool

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A Blessing for the New Year

December 31, 2018 | Filed Under Devotions, Things I Think About | No Comments

In the new year,

May you experience joy and contentment each day, regardless of the events of the day.

May you live each day in abundance and comfort.

May you learn your lessons through love and kindness.

May you be able to give with an open hand, and receive with an open heart.

May each day hold something that becomes a treasured memory.

May each morning find you rested, and each midnight find you at rest.

May the year be filled with love, joy, health, and delight!

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Mystical Fashion from – the Financial Times?

December 30, 2018 | Filed Under Tarot, Runes, Oracles | No Comments

Next up on the “mystical fashion” train is this photo spread from the Financial Times (not your usual source for fashion news, but if you are a fashionista, do check them out—their weekly fashion columns are quite good coverage, or so I have been told by Those Who Know).

First, the Tarot Reader. You, too, can have this look for only £149,660/$189,912—well, and whatever the “price on application” items would run.

 

Then, the Palm Reader. A mere £2,360/$3,000—it’s practically free!

 

And, then, the Volva. Tips back up the money scale to £15,568/US $19,800, but it’s what the well-dressed Norse witch *must* have this season.

Do check out the full photo spread—it’s amazing, in so many senses of the word.

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Winter Solstice Spread

December 21, 2018 | Filed Under Community Altar, Tarot, Runes, Oracles | No Comments
I created this spread as part of my meditations in preparing the Community Altar for December. I hope you find it helpful!

Winter Solstice Spread

Winter Solstice Spread by Anastasia Haysler
1. What do I need to see in myself?
2. What do I need to know about myself?
3. How can I better love myself?
4. What do I need to see in others?
5. What do I need to know about others?
6. How can I better love others?
7. How can I use this knowledge to better fulfill my role in the world?
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Community Altar for December 2018

 | Filed Under Community Altar | 2 Comments
I fussed a lot with this month’s community altar, adding items to symbolize various aspects of the Solstice, and wasn’t happy with any of the arrangements. So, I took off everything except the candles (that Returning of the Light thing), and the flowers (Because Flowers). With the half-light, half-shadow effect on the flowers, this was exactly what I had in mind—and was a good reminder that sometimes I can get carried away with trying too hard.

Community Altar December 2018 - Winter Solstice

Community Altar December 2018 – Winter Solstice

My Solstice Prayer for this year:

Tonight, the world is dark.
As I light this candle,
Its light inspires me
To see myself more clearly,
To know myself better,
To love myself more wholly,
That I live happy, healthy, whole, and holy.

Tonight, the world is dark.
As I light this candle,
Its light inspires me
To see others more clearly,
To know them better,
To love them more wholly,
And help them to live happy, healthy, whole, and holy.

As the light returns,
I see the world more clearly,
And know what my part is
In the restoration
Of the heart of the world.

I also created a Winter Solstice Spread to accompany this month’s altar, which you can find here.

Wishing you a joyful Winter Solstice!

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